OH graduation caps off big year

From the football team winning the district title to cheerleaders winning a national title, it has been a big year at Oak Harbor High School.

The year concluded Monday night when approximately 330 students graduated with the Class of 2006.

Whether it was athletics, career-oriented competitions or art and music, students brought home numerous awards throughout the year.

The culinary arts team and the auto mechanic team earned state titles, the JROTC team is the reigning Northwest Drill and Rifle Conference champion and earned second place in the Western Region championships in Colorado.

In music, the Chamber Singers and the OHHS Band rated Superior in a recent competition. Seven band members qualified for state.

Students also gave a lot of time in volunteering over the year. They helped with the “Extreme RakeOver,” which spruced up the high school campus and they collected 8,000 items in a recent food drive.

The football team won the Western Conference North title and won two playoff games, including the school’s first state playoff victory. The golf team earned the WesCo North Title and sent two boys and one girl to state.

Kathy Jones, president of the school board, said Oak Harbor High School has the highest graduation rate in the region.

While everyone is proud of the accomplishments achieved this school year, they also held a moment of silence to remember Adrian Almario who died earlier in the year.

Four seniors spoke during Monday’s ceremony. They talked about ambition, how plans changed throughout high school and learning from mistakes.

Tom Chandler’s subject was ambition. He quoted C.S. Lewis and encouraged his classmates to begin working to achieve their dreams.

Jennifer Muzzall, who represents the fourth generation of her family to graduate from Oak Harbor High School, talked about how her goals changed as she went through high school.

Her plans changed from becoming a dairy farmer to pursuing a career in law enforcement.

“I have discovered my passion for law enforcement,” Muzzall said. She added she had to convince her parents of her desire to change careers. She also participated in the Explorers Program, which provided exposure to law enforcement.

Danica Humphries, who graduated with a 4.0 grade point average, said graduates will either have tears of joy for being set free from school or bittersweet tears because of the friends they will miss.

“This new journey will be the most exciting adventure of our lives,” Humphries said. “We will make mistakes. Embrace those challenges.”

Fellow graduate Jacque Leach, who also earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average, said that since her freshman year, she has learned to appreciate people’s flaws.

“I’ve learned that perfection and its many forms is way overrated,” Leach said. “It’s the flaws and the little imperfections that make everybody special.”

The Class of 2006 earned $125,000 in local scholarships and $1.7 million in state and national scholarships. Two students graduated with perfect grades and 61 students earned at least a 3.5 grade point average. Three students, Alicen Bishop, Kathryn Prasser and Natalie Sizemore, participated in the Running Start program and are earning associate’s degrees from Skagit Valley College in addition to their diplomas. Four other graduates are foreign exchange students.

With their graduation complete, the young men and women are preparing to take their next step whether it will be attending college, working or enlisting in the military.

Goals are varied, depending on the graduate. Arvin Merino is bound for college in Arizona. He eventually wants to transfer for Arizona State University where he hopes to study architecture.

Sean O’Brien is heading to Alaska this summer. He is fishing to raise money to pay for college. After that, he hopes to attend Skagit Valley College or Boise State University, eventually majoring in mechanical engineering. Tabitha Rivera plans on attending Central Washington University and studying exercise science.

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